I was working with my own coach this week (most professional coaches walk their talk and have a coach too) and my topic was about figuring out a good balance in my life between really growing my coaching business and enjoying my newfound freedom away from a scheduled work life. I have been feeling like I have been working long hours. The truth of this is that I have been working long hours and this does not feel foreign or bad to me. So I was getting curious about whether this work, work, work thing just feels good because I am used to it, or do I really LOVE everything I am now doing. My coach pointed out that my curiosity is a real ally to me. I said that I feel like if I am working, then I am not wasting time. She then mentioned that my judge voice (my saboteur - that critical little voice that stops us from believing we can make change) seemed to have a strong opinion about wasting time.
And then she said, “What is it like to waste time?” I had no answer to this.
More silence as I thought about why I had such a blank reaction to wasting time.
And then it hit me. The perspective that I have been using about this comes from my childhood. My mother died when I was young and all of my siblings and I seem to have come to the same conclusion about the preciousness of each day. We know that our mother would have loved to have had one more day and that she would not have ‘wasted’ it. The trouble with my story, I realized, was that I had made up my own definition of wasting time. I have defined ‘wasting time’ as not doing something productive (think: working). I know that if my mom had one more day, she would not have spent it working. I am guessing that she would have spent it with the people she loved, doing the things that she loved to do. But my story was that if I was not doing something that could be checked off a list, then I was wasting time.
This brings me to Betty. I have known Betty for a long time and she has been a far better friend to me that even she knows. I taught Betty’s children, then I taught with Betty, then Betty taught my children. The best gift that Betty has given me is to continuously model her belief that I (and everyone else she knows) am 100% fine how I am and that however I choose to spend my time is ok. She also believes that no activity is a waste if it is what we want to do. She and I talked about this the last time she and I had another great visit in her living room. This Betty is clearly my real life ally.
I told my coach about Betty, and lamented that I needed Betty around me more and then I laughed. Since my name is Elizabeth, Betty is one of the shortened forms of my name. I do have a Betty around me and she is right inside of me. So now if my real life Betty is not nearby, when I need a little reminder about giving myself permission to waste time doing something other than work, I will just call upon my own little inner Betty that I carry right in my heart. And I’ll create a new word to replace waste.
May each of you also spend some time this week, Bringing Out Your Betty.
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